Untitled by Philip Badenhorst (1957 -  )
Untitled, 2004, oil on canvas, 690 x 780 mm

Philip Badenhorst (1957 - )



About the artwork


"After visiting the centenary Venice Biennial (1995) I began to deal increasingly with the self and the alter ego, which manifested in bold, red, male figures. I worked in violent brush marks and vivid colours so that the process became an extension of the content. Images and meanings continued to be layered and the works of this period show a philosophising quality and often point to the interconnectedness of love and life."


(Badenhorst, Stevens & Combrink 2003:13)



From 1995 onwards, as a result of his travels to Italy, the ‘couple’ figured strongly in his work. Male and female lovers bounded through an expressive painterly style. The signature red male is reference to the artist himself and white female represents his wife, as pure, virginal and uncorrupted being. The third figure is unknown but always present, looking voyeuristically into the shared intimacy of the couple - into their paradise. ‘Paradise’ and ‘paradise lost’ are themes which also occur repeatedly during this period.


(Badenhorst 2012)



During this stage, the red male figure of earlier work, appears again, subverting prescriptive masculinities and juxtaposing these with symbols of the feminine. In most paintings [of this period] the figure is associated with bouquets of roses or surrounded by a green background, recalling Badenhorst’s landscape interiors of the 1980’s in which he related the interiority of form and the layering of images that were present in earlier works.


(Van der Watt 1998)



About Badenhorst’s art


Badenhorst’s paintings are, “deeply contemplative and and intensely personal that allows the viewer to intrude on a man’s quiet passions and loves” (Mark Read 2003). Stevens (1994) adds that, “longer viewing allows the images to register. They are massed, layered and complex, as well as fragmented. Cup-like vessels might be oil lamps of a genie, or containers of holy water or just teacups. Leaves, trees and horns of plenty suggest growth and regeneration. There is a feeling of the magical, a hint of alchemy in the images and in the artist’s breaking down and reforming of shapes”.



Badenhorst’s background


Badenhorst was born on a farm in former Western Transvaal in 1957. After matriculating he studied music at the University of Potchefstroom for three years, but was called to join the national military service for the next two years. Thereafter he completed his BA in Fine Arts in 1984 and achieved a sense of self-actualisation. He lectured in fine arts at the University of Potchefstroom and the University of Pretoria for almost 15 years, but relished the freedom of working full time from his art studio. He currently still works from his art studio in Pretoria full time.





Badenhorst, P. The artists insights into his work in the Saronsberg collection. (Personal Communications, October 2012).


Badenhorst, P.  Stevens, I &  Combrink, L. 2003. Philip Badenhorst, (an Exhibition catalogue). Everard Read: Johannesburg.


Stevens, I. 1994. Cape artists exude air of freshness. Pretoria news. 8 June.


Van der Watt, L. 1998. The affirmation of the painterly. The art of Philip Badenhorst. VUKA. Vol 3. (1). April/May.